Introduced by Representatives Helm of Castleton, Acinapura of Brandon, Allaire of Rutland City, Allard of St. Albans Town, Atkins of Winooski, Bartlett of Dover, Bostic of St. Johnsbury, Branagan of Georgia, Brennan of Colchester, Canfield of Fair Haven, Clark of Vergennes, Dates of Shelburne, Donaghy of Poultney, Dunsmore of Georgia, Endres of Milton, Flory of Pittsford, Houston of Ferrisburgh, Hube of Londonderry, Hunt of Essex, Johnson of Canaan, Kennedy of Chelsea, Kilmartin of Newport City, Komline of Dorset, Krawczyk of Bennington, Larocque of Barnet, McAllister of Highgate, Miller of Shaftsbury, Monti of Barre City, O’Donnell of Vernon, Perry of Richford, Pillsbury of Brattleboro, Rodgers of Glover, Shaw of Derby, Valliere of Barre City and Winters of Williamstown
Subject: Funerals; prohibition of picketing
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to prohibit picketing within 500 feet of a cemetery, mortuary, or church during a funeral service. The prohibition also applies two hours prior to the funeral and two hours afterward.
AN ACT RELATING TO PROHIBITING PICKETING AT FUNERALS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. SHORT TITLE
This act shall be known as the “Vermont Funeral Picketing Act.”
Sec. 2. FINDINGS
The general assembly finds:
(1) Families have a substantial interest in organizing and attending funerals for deceased relatives.
(2) The interests of families in privately and peacefully mourning the loss of deceased relatives are violated when funerals are targeted for picketing and other public demonstrations.
(3) Picketing of funerals causes emotional disturbance and distress to grieving families who participate in funerals.
(4) Full opportunity exists under the terms and provisions of this section for the exercise of freedom of speech and other constitutional rights at times other than two hours prior to funerals and two hours afterward.
Sec 3. 13 V.S.A. § 3771 is added to read:
§ 3771. PICKETING AT FUNERALS
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “Funeral” means the ceremonies, processions, and memorial services held in connection with the burial or cremation of a dead person.
(2) “Picketing” means protests, demonstrations, and other related activities.
(b) No person shall engage in picketing within 500 feet of a cemetery, church, or mortuary:
(1) where a funeral is taking place; or
(2) within two hours before a funeral takes place or two hours afterward.
(c) A person who violates this section shall be imprisoned not more than 30 days or fined not more than $500.00, or both.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street